Large-scale test facilities

​Hall inside the National Satellite Test Facility​​

​​​​​​​​Hall inside the National Satellite Test Facility​​

Credit: STFC RAL Space
Hall inside the National Satellite Test Facility

Through the NSTF, RAL Space provide facilities for the final​ integration and test of large space payloads and satellites. The facility has been purpose built to help space companies raise confidence in satellite performance whilst also simplifying test campaigns, reducing risk, and improving turnaround time between tests.

Access to expertise

A dedicated test programme manager will ensure each test programme is able to progress efficiently, working with customers before arrival until the spacecraft safely leaves site. Each test is run by an experienced team, embedded within RAL Space. The department has a deep knowledge of problem solving for space and access to other supporting facilities and services.

Access to facilities

The NSTF offers two large test preparation clean rooms alongside a complete suite of test facilities, all within a clean environment.

Our facility offers:

  • 2 large separate ISO 8 cleanrooms for customer use, one of which can be operated at ISO 6
  • Level floor transitions to all testing facilities
  • ISO 9 air lock and unloading bay: 17.2 m long by 15.8 m wide by 14.5 m high
  • 2 customer offices to accommodate up to 30 people each
  • Secure data infrastructure
  • O​pen access
  • Aiming for ECSS-Q-ST-20-07C test centre certification from the European Space Agency

How to access our facilities

As the UK's national space laboratory, we occupy a unique and independent position between industry, academia and government. Our facilities are open to everyone on a commercial basis, whether based in the UK or internationally.

To enquire about use of our test facilities please:

For further information, please read the NSTF frequently asked question page

NSTF background

The NSTF addresses the requirement for a central facility in the UK, identified by the UK Space Agency's Facilities Review 2017, which highlighted the UK space industry's need for access to a comprehensive set of satellite test capabilities at a single location.

The facility has been built thanks to investment from UK Research and Innovation as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund​. This fund in part aims to address technological challenges to make the UK a world-leader in emerging and significant global markets.


Image 1 - Main hall in the National Satellite Test Facility. Credit: STFC RAL Space

Find out more about our large-scale test facilities.


  • ​Vibration test equipment at the National Satellite Test Facility
  • Door to the ​7m vacuum chamber in the National Satellite Test Facility